THE SELF - YOGA VASISTHA
"The Self is subtler even than space, since It has no name and cannot be described; neither the mind nor the senses can reach It nor comprehend (perceive) It.
It is pure consciousness (Beingness, awareness, existence itself).
The entire universe exists in the consciousness that is atomic, even as a tree exists in the seed, but then the universe exists as consciousness and does not exist as the universe
(just as a wave exists because of ocean, but ocean does not exist because of a wave).
That consciousness exists however, because such is the experience of all,
and since It alone is the Self of all (the screen within which life is projected).
Such It is, all else is
(because it exists, all else exists).
That Self is empty like space, but it is not nothingness, since It is consciousness.
It is: yet because It cannot be experienced by the mind and the senses (being subtler), It is not (seems not to exist). It being the Self of all, It is not experienced by anyone (as it is not a separate object to be experienced).
Though One, It is reflected in the infinite atoms of existence and hence appears to be many.
This appearance however is unreal even as a bracelet is an imaginary appearance of gold which alone (as the underlying source substance) is real.
But the Self is not unreal, It is not a void or nothingness,
for It is the Self of all and It is the Self of one who says It is and of one who says (or thinks) It is not.
Moreover, It's existence can be experienced indirectly just as the existence of camphor can be experienced by it's fragrance.
It alone is the Self of all as consciousness, and It alone is the substance that makes the world appearance possible.
In that infinite ocean of consciousness, whirlpools known as the three worlds arise spontaneously and naturally, even as whirlpools are caused by the very nature of running water. Because this consciousness is beyond the reach of the limited mind and senses, It seems to be a void, but since It can be known by Self-knowledge, It is not a void.
On account of the indivisibility of consciousness, I am you and you are me, but the indivisible consciousness Itself has become neither I nor you ! When the wrong notions of 'you' and 'I' are given up, there arises the awareness that there is neither you, nor I, nor everything: It alone is everything.
The Self, being infinite, moves not though moving, and yet is forever established in every atom of existence. The Self does not go nor does It ever come, for space and time derive their meaning from consciousness alone.
Where can the Self go when all that is, is within It?
If a pot is taken from one place to another, the space within does not move from one place to another, for everything is forever in space.
The Self which is the nature of pure consciousness, seems to be inert and insentient when it is apparently associated with inertia. In infinite space this infinite consciousness has made infinite objects appear, though all this seems to have been done, such effect is a mere fancy, nothing has been done.
Hence, It is both consciousness and inertia, the doer and the non-doer.
The reality in fire is this Self or consciousness. Yet the Self does not burn nor is It burnt; It is the reality in all, and is infinite. It is the eternal light which shines in the sun, the moon and fire, but yet is independent of them (as the sky is independent of clouds). It shines even when these have set: It illumines all from within all. It alone is the intelligence that indwells even in trees, plants and creepers and preserves them.
That Self or Infinite Consciousness is from the ordinary point of view the Creator, the Protector and the Overlord of all, and yet from the absolute point of view, in reality being the Self of ALL It has no such limited roles.
There is no world independent of this Consciousness:
hence even the mountains are in the atomic Self.
In It arises the fantasies of a moment and of an epoch, and these appear to be real time-scales, even as objects seen in a dream appear to be completely real at that time. Within the twinkling of an eye (imagination), there exists an epoch, even as a whole city is reflected in a small mirror. Such being the case, how can one assert the reality of either duality or non-duality?
This atomic Self or Infinite Consciousness appears to be a moment or an epoch, both near and far, and there is nothing apart from It, and these are not mutually contradictory in themselves.
As long as one sees a bracelet as a bracelet (a form with a name/label), it is not seen as gold (the underlying source substance), but when it is seen that bracelet is just a word and not the underlying reality, then gold is seen.
Even so, when the world is assumed to be real, the Self is not seen.
When this assumption is discarded, consciousness is realized.
It is the all; hence real. When It is not experienced (realized); It is considered unreal.
What appears to be - is but the jugglery of Maya (the world illusion) which creates a division in concsiousness into subject and object.
It is as real as the dream city.
It is neither real nor unreal, but a long standing illusion (appearance within consciousness). It is the assumption of division that creates,
right from the creator Brahma down to the little insect.
Just as in a single seed the diverse characteristics of the tree remain at all times, even so the apparent diversity exists in the Self at all times,
but as pure consciousness."
Yoga Vasistha pages 82 - 84